REO Speedwagon make a special delivery of classic rock and roll memories to the fans of central Florida, young and old.
Shortly before 7 PM, the area just outside of the Hard Rock Live Orlando begins to come to life for the evening’s main event. Scores of fans arrive in masses to claim their place in line for a sold-out show and lifetime opportunity to speed a night with rock icons REO Speedwagon. Speedwagon, no stranger to sold-out performances, have managed to over-stuff the largest Hard Rock Live building in the brand’s chain. The doors open and concert goers take their seats (all of them in fact) to be greeted by a local radio announcer. The MC has brought with him an autographed guitar, signed by the members of REO Speedwagon, and a teenage associate. This young man was a participant in the children’s Make a Wish Foundation and assisted the host with a raffle of the guitar to a lucky concert-goer. The winning ticket was drawn and a gentleman in the front row raised his hand to claim his prize. It was then announced that REO Speedwagon has donated all proceeds of this evening’s raffle to the Make a Wish Foundation. The crowd responded with a standing ovation, as smiles and tears filled the venue. The lucky fan claimed his prize as the lights began to dim in ambient anticipation of Speedwagon’s arrival.
At 9:45 PM sharp, powerful stage lights come to life and reveal the five-man team that is the 2018 REO Speedwagon lineup. We see the familiar faces of a seasoned team that have been on board for nearly three decades, with founding member Neal Doughty, and senior frontman Kevin Cronin having over forty-five years of seniority with the band. The crowd greets them with a hearty applause as Cronin, bassist Bruce Hall and guitarist Dave Amato strap on their instruments and turn to face the fans. Kevin Cronin cracks an infectious smile, extends a cordial greeting to the Orlando fan base at which point a suspiciously familiar backbeat begins. Drummer Bryan Hitt leads the band into the opening classic, “Don’t Let Him Go.” The crowd comes to life, and the venue is transported back in time to the early 80s. Fans singing the lyrics to every song of the evening’s generous set list, with frontman Cronin leading the memory filled symphony. The Wagon continued to roll, with 12 more power hits, all with their unique place in music history, followed by a smashing three-song encore.
The crowd was brought to a trance-like state mid-show, as Speedwagon performed their timeless platinum hit, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore.” Keeping the energy on tap, they proceeded with classics like “Take It On The Run,” “Time For Me To Fly,” and “Riding The Storm Out.” Amato gave us crispy guitar solos delivered with a vintage and memorable tone, while bassist Bruce Hall and drummer Hitt kept the groove tight and on point throughout the evening. Doughty, founding member and the inspiration behind the band name (named after a vehicle he studied in transportation history) gave a solid keyboard and piano performance that was brick and mortar at the core of Speedwagon’s sound. Just as the last notes of “Riding The Storm,” began to ring out, fans had thought this memorable music experience had come to a close. The Wagon returned with a three-song encore “Keep On Loving You,” “Roll With The Changes,” and a tremendously moving rendition of the Tom Petty cover “Listen To Her Heart.” Nearly two hours later, the lights dim, the venue begins to empty, and concert-goers marvel at just what their ticket purchase had given them. Memories of a lifetime… from a seasoned band of rock legends that not only still has it, but they nailed it.
Event Date: 13-APR-2018